Falcons, Steelers Top Last-Minute Picks For Divisional Round

Jay Pryce

Saturday, January 14, 2017 3:35 PM UTC

Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017 3:35 PM UTC

Pick the Falcons to cover vs. the Seahawks in Atlanta on Saturday, and the Steelers to offer the only upset win in the NFL divisional round playoffs against the Chiefs in Kansas City on Sunday.

Seattle Seahawks At Atlanta Falcons (-5)

Expect the Falcons to fly higher than the Seahawks on Saturday. Quarterback Matt Ryan and Co. tallied 540 points in the regular season, seventh-most in NFL history. No defense has been able to slow them down all year. Seattle offers one of the sternest tests, yielding only 17.6 points per game entering the matchup but is without All-Pro safety Earl Thomas due to a broken tibia.

The Falcons proved they could move the ball against the Pete Carroll-led unit earlier this season, losing 26-24 at CenturyLink Field in Week 6. Poor officiating helped in the final result, but the visitors accrued 362 total yards to 333 for Seattle -- this with Thomas in the lineup and the Seahawks owning the best home-field advantage in the NFL.

Seattle is going to be forced into a shootout and will fall flat in the chase. The fewest points the Falcons scored at the Georgia Dome all season was 24 vs. the Bucs in the season opener. They put up 28 or more in every other game. The Seahawks are 2-27 straight up and 4-24-1 against the NFL betting spread when allowing 26 points or more in a game since Carroll took over. The two lone wins occurred at home, for what it’s worth. Seattle's offensive line stinks, and quarterback Russell Wilson will have it all to do with little help. Atlanta by 7 or more is the prediction.

NFL Free Pick: Falcons -5Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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Pittsburgh Steelers At Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5)

This game was moved from Sunday afternoon to Sunday night due to the potential for an ice storm early Sunday in Kansas City. The Steelers own the best record in the NFL through their last nine games, going 8-1. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown are clicking at the right time. The offense has scored 50 touchdowns in this stretch, fourth-most behind the Falcons (58), Packers (56) and Patriots (51). The Chiefs offense, sputtering much of the year, has reached the end zone 34 times in this span.

K.C. wins games with its smothering defense, though. Armed with a shutdown secondary, it has not allowed more than 21 points at Arrowhead Stadium since gifting the Chargers 27 points in the season opener. Outside of the San Diego game, the Chiefs have held all but one visitor (Titans) below the betting market’s projected team total.

The Steelers roll out an offensive line capable of bossing Andy Reid’s defense. Pro Football Focus ranks Pittsburgh’s front as the No. 2 pass-blocking and No. 6 run-blocking group in the league. The Steelers, in fact, have allowed just 14 sacks all season, third-fewest in the NFL.

The Chiefs are vulnerable when they can’t pressure opposing quarterbacks. Three of their four losses this season occurred in seven games played against foes allowing two sacks or fewer per game. If the opponents owned a positive points differential, signifying a winning team, the Chiefs' record is 2-3 straight up in this situation.

Expect a low-scoring game Sunday with the Steelers’ offense edging out a pedestrian effort from Alex Smith and the Chiefs late.

NFL Free Pick: Steelers +110 On MLBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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